This book came highly recommended, but I was a little wary at first. Basketball and free verse just didn’t seem like my thing. Once I got into though, wow! – I was hooked.
The story is told from the perspective of Josh, a 14 yr old star basketball player and twin brother to the other star player JB. The first few poems capture the friendly banter between the two and highlight their differences. They’ve had a ball in their hands since they were 3, thanks to their supportive father, a former NBA star.
Life is good. They come from a great family and have so much potential. When JB meets “Miss Sweet Tea” though things start to change. Josh feels abandoned and maybe a little bit jealous. Then they discover a secret about their father. He’s coughing up blood at games, but insists that everything’s fine. So many emotions are swirling, as Josh tries to keep up with the rules of basketball and life.
The rhythm of Alexander’s free verse is perfect. As he narrates the basketball plays, you can feel the ball bouncing and feet moving across the court. The basketball rules are simple yet profound, and it anstonished me how well they could be applied to real life – “You only get so many free throws”. I read this book in one sitting, and it’s a great pick for reluctant male readers (middle grade to early high school)